HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — The annual African American Day Parade was held virtually for the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so revelers were excited to celebrate in person on Sunday.

Mayor Eric Adams and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams were among the first to help kick off the celebration for the 53rd annual African American Day Parade. Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson and District Attorney Darcel Clark were also there.

The parade route stretched along Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard between West 111th and 137th Streets. It was packed with spectators who had been missing it for the last two years.

The parade has a specific theme each year. This year it was “Good Health is Essential. The parade honored individuals dedicated to promoting good health in this community.

The African American Day Parade was founded during the Civil Rights Movement; it was a time of deep racial turmoil. Participants say the mission of empowering and embracing African-American culture continues to resonate today.